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Scouting basics from ISU experts

By Staff | May 19, 2017

AMES The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program will host the seventh annual crop scouting competition for Iowa youth on July 31 at the Field Extension Education Laboratory in Boone, Iowa at 1928 240th St.

High school students (those completing grades 9-12) from Iowa are invited to put their crop scouting skills to the test, competing against other Iowa youth teams across the state. In addition to team competition, the goal of the event is to bring awareness to Iowa agriculture and learn more about integrated pest management basics through hands-on learning and teamwork.

Joe and Suzanne Shirbroun of Clayton County have been team leaders at the crop scouting competition for the past six years. Joe Shirbroun says he’s witnessed the competition make a big impact on the participating youth.

“The competition is a great way to connect education to the industry,” said Shirbroun. “Over the last six years, we’ve had several students on our team realize this is something they have a passion for and decide to pursue it in college.”

Teams will be judged on their crop and scouting knowledge through topic-specific field stations and with a written exam. Several field stations will be run by ISU Extension and Outreach faculty and staff, giving students the opportunity to work next to and learn from ISU experts. Potential topics will include: crop diseases, insects, disorders, weed identification, herbicide injury, crop growth stages, degree day computation, and sprayer calibration and sprayer issues.

“I like to bring my FFA students to this competition because it enables them to learn from ISU Extension and Outreach faculty and staff,” said James Abbas, AGWSR FFA advisor in Ackley.. “The experts working the competition are able to provide instant feedback to the teams, and they do so in a respectful, positive manner. They are always willing to help the kids and work with them.”

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